How to Track File Downloads in Google Analytics

How to Track File Downloads in Google Analytics

Being able to track file downloads is important because you can discover how popular your downloadable resources are which allows you to figure out which content type you should offer more saving site owners time AND money.

Don’t you agree?

As writers and authors we’ve got books and other short stories that we would love to share with the public. As bloggers we have PDF files and cheatsheets that our audience must have.

If we are offering these as downloadable resources then we need to know if our audience is actually downloading them.

Why should we track file downloads?

You’ll find out which resources are more popular and those are the 0nes you should focus more on, saving both time and money and being very productive because your audience are receiving the products they want.

Because Google Analytics doesn’t support automatic file downloads tracking we need a plugin to do so. MonsterInsights easily enables such tracking without touching any code.

In this article, I’m going to show you how you can track your downloads on your WordPress website.

How to Track File Downloads in WordPress

With the MonsterInsights plugin, set up your Google Analytics properly.

When you’ve done that your file downloads tracking will automatically be enabled and tracked as events. And that’s it. LOL

But what about if you want to track more file extensions?

In Google Analytics, events tracking are used to measure user interactions with content like downloads and more.

Add more File Extensions to Track as Downloads

In MonsterInsights you are allowed to track downloads in these extensions: doc, pdf, ppt, zip, xls, docx, pptx, and xlsx. These are quite a lot of extensions and the basic ones. If you want to add more here’s how you do it.

Go to Insights > Settings > Engagement > File Downloads

Simply add more extensions by separating them with commas.

Now the purpose is to see what downloads are more popular, so we need to view them.

How to View File Downloads in WordPress

Let’s view our Top Downloads report.

  1. Insights > Report > Publishers Report
  2. Scroll down

This data allows you to create similar content, plug the gaps, and repurpose the type of content.

What if you want to view the same data in Google Analytics?

How to View File Downloads in Google Analytics

Head across to your Google Analytics account and select the website you would like to track.

Once you’ve enabled downloads tracking as pageviews check the downloads report in the All Pages report.

Simply click Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

But if you’ve enabled downloads tracking as events then head across to the events report. Simply click Behavior > Events

The events reports gives you a wide range of information so for detailed information click on Top Events > Downloads

The Make Up of File Downloads Tracking with MonsterInsights

All files are categorized as downloads in your events report and are shown in real-time stats. Three important components of every report are:

  1. Event category
  2. Event action
  3. Event label

Your event action is a full URL of the file you’ll like to track. This allows you to know the exact file that is being downloaded.


So that’s it. You are now versed in tracking your file downloads. You no doubt will be able to understand which downloads your audience loves the best and then continue to produce similar content. This helps save time, money and keeps you productive.

And not to mention it can actually increase sales. Kaching!

Start your file download tracking today with MonsterInsights, all for FREE.



Book blogger and indie author with a passion for sewing, thinking thoughts about writing with playing with my little baby, Sponk.

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